This post got me thinking, and then a little angry, and then back to just plain old curious.
Me and Chou Chou don't share a last name. Neither do my husband and I. And we like it that way. Within my ladies and babies group, nearly half the children have their momma's names, not daddy's, and the daddies are the ones who wanted it that way (except in one case where it was decided by the baby's gender (girl = mum's name, boy = dad's name). For the record, we're all married and some changed names but most did not. Outside of my circle of friends and family back home, most women I know kept their name or hyphenated it, and babies are being given mum's name as a middle name, or mum's name, or both. Personally, I love the diversity of it. I love hearing the reasons for either or. I love seeing a little boy with his mum's name because the baby's dad had such respect and reverence for his wife's family. That's powerful, wonderful stuff.
And then those same wonderful people may be stopped at our border and questioned as to their authority in traveling with the child? That gets me angry. Then logic takes over, and I recognize that better safe than sorry fits here, and then I relax, just a little.
I think back to the agony over naming our Chou Chou - all before she was born, of course. The moment I saw her - her perfect face, the mop of curls, the sweet blond wisps of hair tucked behind her ear - I knew her name (none of the ones we had picked out, by the way). But before she arrived we spent hours discussing names, the importance of them, the meanings, the sound, the cadence, the significance, the spelling and, yes, the possible pitfalls of her carrying a name different than her mother's.
The travel question did come up. As did schooling and child care. Would it be an issue if I went to fetch her and our names were different? Would it bother her? Would she care? Ultimately, we decided it was as important to me to keep my name as it was that our daughter have both our names. Not wanting to saddle her with a huge name, we gave her only one as her last, and mine as a middle name (Chou Chou Caddywumpus really is enough, don't you think?). And before someone bites my head off, I get all the reasons for having a "family" name - but I don't think simply sharing a last name makes you a family, or more of a family, than those who don't.
I then go back to getting more than a little annoyed over the border guard's response (especially when the were coming BACK to Canada. Good grief, people). It's not like parents take this naming responsibility lightly. And I get more than a little pissed that, indirectly, it's a dig at a woman keeping her name. A name she likely kept for some very good reasons. I also get more than a little annoyed that in this age of blended families, in a country where all sorts of cultures collide, some of which have a tradition where women ALWAYS keep their name (in Vietnamese culture, for one, for those of you who need examples for credibility of argument), that we still get flak for doing so.
Lesson learned, though. Chou Chou and I will travel with appropriate documents, and just might end up changing names...but only so she carries mine as a last name, not the other way around.
Caddywumpus Comment Generator: What did you do? Would you do it differently if you could do it all over again?